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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

breezy afternoon copying out and assimilating a lec-
ture on Consolidation of Captured Trenches, which
I shall spout to the Company as though it came out
of my head? though it is all from the recently issued
Manual for the training and employment of Platoons which
I spent yesterday evening in studying. I now feel
rather "on my toes55 about being in France, and am
resolved to make a good job of it this time. The
manual (a 32-page pamphlet) is a masterpiece of
common ifense, clearness, and condensation, and en-
tirely supersedes the academic old Infantry Training
igi^ which was based on Boer War experience and
caused me much mystification. Having just evolved
an alliterative axiom—"clear commands create com-
plete control53—I sit at the window watching soldiers
going up and down the lane; now and then a lorry
passes, or a peasant with a grey horse. On the oppo-
site side of the road is a fine hawthorn hedge and an
orchard containing two brown cows munching lush
grass. A little way off, the church bell begins tolling.
I tell myself that I simply must become an efficient
company commander. It is the only way I can do the
men any good, and they are such a decent well-
behaved lot that it is a pleasure to work with them
and do what one can for their comfort.

This morning we went up to the Forest and did a
little training under the beech trees. "It's like being
at home again, sir,53 one of the sergeants said to me.

It was nice to watch the groups of men under the
green branches, although they were doing "gas-drill55
and bayonet fighting—loathsome exercises. Nice also,
to walk home a breezy mile or two with the column
•—the men chattering gaily and cloud shadows float-
ing across the spacious landscape. In the hornbeam
hedges on the edge of the forest a blackcap was sing-

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